Anti-incumbency effect? BJP fields Union ministers, lawmakers in MP

However, some political pundits believe that the fielding of Union ministers and MPs in state elections could be seen as a sign that the BJP is not confident in its local leadership.

| Updated: 26 September, 2023 1:56 pm IST
Union Ministers and MPs in key roles for Madhya Pradesh assembly Elections

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded three Union ministers and five Lok Sabha MPs in its second list of 39 candidates for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, giving a glimpse into the party’s strategy to combat anti-incumbency.

The list includes Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel, and Faggan Singh Kulaste, BJP vice president Kailash Vijayvargiya, and MPs Rakesh Singh, Ganesh Singh, Riti Pathak, and Uday Pratap Singh.

The BJP is facing anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh, where it has been in power for 17 years. The fielding of heavyweight Union ministers and MPs is seen as an attempt to counter vote fatigue and to galvanize the party’s base. However, some political pundits believe that the fielding of Union ministers and MPs in state elections could be seen as a sign that the BJP is not confident in its local leadership.

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Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar will contest from Dimani in Morena district. He has been MP from the Morena Lok Sabha constituency for the third time. He earlier served as an MLA from Gwalior. A senior minister in PM Modi’s Cabinet, Tomar is considered as top contender to replace chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

BJP’s national vice president Kailash Vijayvargiya will contest from Indore-1 seat. He started his political career as the mayor of Indore and has won six Assembly elections in a row. He served as the state Cabinet minister for more than 12 years. The announcement could mean that his MLA son Akash, who has been in controversies in the past, may be dropped.

“Although I had said that I don’t want to contest in elections, I got directions from party leaders a day before yesterday. I am privileged that I got the opportunity to participate in electoral politics and I will try to deliver on the party’s expectations,” he told media persons after the announcement.

ALSO READ: MP Elections: BJP fields 3 union ministers, Opposition calls it fear

Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel, a lawyer by profession, has been asked to contest his first Assembly election from Narsinghpur Assembly seat in his home district of Narsingpur. He currently represents Damoh seat in the Lok Sabha for the fifth term. A minister of state for food processing industries and jal shakti, he also served as a minister of state under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“I express my gratitude to the party for their decision. It is a matter of pride that I will contest from my birthplace for the first time… I reiterate my resolve that Congress will fail to open its account in Chhindwara in this election. In the list is Vivek Bunty Sahu who will contest from Chhindwara, a seat currently represented by the Congress’s chief ministerial face Kamal Nath.

Faggan Singh Kulaste, who is currently serving as the minister of state for rural development and steel, will fight the Assembly polls from the Mandla constituency. He is serving as an MP for 6th term and is known for working towards education among tribals and weaker sections. During Covid pandemic, his controversial remarks that “liquor works as a topic which keeps Covid-19 infection at bay” made national headlines.

This list comprises six women, 10 candidates from Scheduled Tribes and four from Scheduled Castes category. The BJP had previously released the names of 37 candidates in its first list. With this, the BJP has now declared candidates for 76 out of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh.

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